The Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons always challenge me to be a more grateful person. I would like to tell you that I live each day full of gratitude. Some days, I actually feel truly grateful and act it. Other days, you’d think my life was in a pit when really, I just felt like pouting.
But that’s just it. The Bible doesn’t tell me to give thanks and praise His name when or if I feel like it. No, it simply and profoundly says to do it.
I was recently challenged in a huge way in my attitude, or lack thereof, of gratitude. One of my current YouVersion reading plans is by Joyce Meyer and it’s called “Promises for Your Everyday Life.” On Day 22, she discussed complaining at length. I mean, really at length. So much so that I was ready for Day 23! She said, “The best antidote for complaining is thanksgiving. Truly thankful people do not complain. They are too busy being grateful for all the good things they have that they have no time to notice the things they could complain about.”
Now, what she wrote is no news to me. I know this. Heck, I’ve talked to my sons about this! But, for some reason, it impacted me and challenged me to really make some internal changes. But I suppose the final thing that hit me in this day’s devotion was when she finished it with this: “Be generous with your gratitude. It will sweeten your relationship with the Lord.”
Never in all my years did I consider that I could or should be generous with my gratitude. With my money? You bet. With my time? For sure. But generous with my gratitude? Wow. Double wow. Not only that, but I want my relationship with the Lord sweetened! Seriously, what Christ Follower doesn’t want that?
Since that day, I’ve been doing my best to be generous with my gratitude. Thanking God for anything and everything. The clothes I have, the house I live in, the family I have, the friends who care about me, the sunsets I get to close the day with. But also for the long lines I wait in, the rude person at church, the things that don’t go as I expect them. Anything. Everything.
I hope you are challenged like I was. Like I still am. Make every effort to become generous with your gratitude to the One who loves you immensely. In fact, let’s start today.
What is one thing you are thankful for? Write it in the comments below. (And if you have more than one, well, that’s perfectly fine. We are trying to be generous with our gratitude after all.)
by Noel Yeatts
We all came with bags packed and overflowing … not just with our cute and sassy outfits that we were waiting to wear in Nashville. But we also came with “baggage”. Bags packed to the rim and overflowing with hurt, pain, hard years, tough transitions, struggling marriages, pressing questions, identity crises and so much more.
A friend told me recently that in leadership we have to show people the beauty … help them find the beauty. And I believe that is exactly what Leading and Loving It is doing. It is restoring hope and bringing the beauty back to life in ministry for thousands of women.
Re:treat allowed us to leave our baggage at the altar and come home with bags overflowing with new friends, advice, resources, truth … Oh, and lots of new t-shirts! I think I literally have one for every day of the week now!
Most importantly we are going home with beauty restored. Our problems cannot disappear overnight but our perspective certainly can. And now we have the opportunity to share this beauty with others – our congregations, our workplace, friends, husbands and our families.
I believe the greatest injustice facing our world today is not hunger or disease. It is not extreme poverty, abuse, abandonment, fear, anxiety or depression. No, the greatest injustice is hopelessness. Because when you have no hope, you literally have nothing.
And I also believe that the beauty of life in ministry comes from one thing – hope. Our most important job as women in leadership is to be hope bearers to a world in need.
I was so encouraged by the hundreds of women who heard the message of Rescue at Re:Treat and were inspired to respond – to be the hope bearers to underprivileged children around the world. Not only did the ladies of Leading and Loving It raise enough money to rescue three babies in only a matter of two days, dozens also expressed interest in personal fundraisers and sharing the story of Rescue at their church by hosting the Children of the World choir.
I wasn’t able to meet all of the women in attendance but I was able to hear just a glimpse of their stories. Women who so desperately needed to be filled, but found it in themselves to pour out just a little bit more and for that I am incredibly grateful.
While one of the most important jobs as a woman in ministry is to be hope bearers, let’s not forget the difference hope can make in our own lives. The hope we have in Jesus Christ helps us tackle whatever comes our way today, tomorrow and every day after that. And when you truly embrace that truth, you find the beauty in ministry and in our faith once again.
Noel Yeatts is the Vice President of World Help and a LALI partner. She shared at Re:treat and brought the Children of the World Choir with her. If you are interested in having Children of the World at your church please call 800-541-6691 or click here- https://worldhelp.net/children-of-the-world/schedule/.
After starting re:treat with worship led by Natalie Grant and the amazing Cross Point team, we went straight into a message from our leaders, Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson. Can I just say that I was incredibly moved by their message? Like, seriously. These two have spent the better part of 6-8 months planning re:treat and they were still able to come up with a message that inspired us. They challenged us to unlock things in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Things like community, confidence, peace and healing. At the end, we had such a special moment of taking our little locks and locking them on a metal fence signifying that we were taking a step toward freedom. Our lasting reminder from their talk came from a necklace with a key that had the word “FREE” stamped on it.
If you’ve never heard Lisa Harper speak, find the next event she is at and be there. Her wit will entertain you and her understanding of the scriptures will leave you stunned. She is the queen of hilarious one-liners and is as down to earth as they come. One of the things she talked about was navigating the highs and lows of ministry. Ain’t that the truth. We certainly need to do that. What a blessing it was to hear her challenge us to get in the Word and know it intimately.
We had amazing breakout sessions on Wednesday by many of our team members. The ladies also got to hear from parenting guru Julie Richard. She is equally wise and funny…something we all need along this parenting road. I love hearing her talk because it encourages me to keep fighting for my children. Not only that, she has helped me so much when it comes to raising my children as they approach adulthood.
On our final day, we had the awesome privilege of hearing from a legend in ministry. The very cool and wise, Lisa Young, of Fellowship Church. Y’all. When she talks, people listen. Wisdom just oozes from her. Lisa said, “God uses unlikely people and unlikely circumstances to build His church.” Can I get an amen? Don’t we all feel unlikely? She taught about the temptation of Jesus and how we handle being in the desert. She said that we could actually thrive in the desert. Wow. A transformational message indeed!
And last but certainly not least, Dr. Tara Jenkins brought it all home. Her message entitled “Put Your Foot Down” was all about taking a stand. She said, “Life can come and shake your stand so you’ve gotta have some war clothes on. It’s a battlefield, not a beach.” That slapped me across the face…in a good way. She truly knows how to deliver a spirit-filled message. It was outstanding!
We would love to hear what some of your favorite parts of these messages were. So please, tell us in the comments!
If you spent any amount of time on social media this past week, then you probably saw all of the posts from our 5th annual Leading and Loving It re:treat in Nashville, Tennessee. We had such an amazing experience with our 19-member team and all of the women who attended. How many were there, you ask? There were 668 pastor’s wives and women in ministry in attendance from three countries: Zimbabwe, Canada and the United States. We were astounded!
Each year our re:treat gets better and better and this year did not disappoint. From our outstanding speakers and breakout session leaders to the moving stories shared on video to the amazing movie we saw to the songs we sang with the amazing Cross Point worship team and Natalie Grant. Oh, and of course, the comedic routine of our very own team members, Lisa Hughes and Heather Palacios. (Don’t worry. There are videos on social media. Look for ’em.)
If you were unable to attend re:treat this year, please make plans to come next year to Las Vegas, Nevada. For those who did attend, we know you didn’t get to hear all of the breakout sessions. We did record the sessions from re:treat and will have them available at the beginning of 2016 for you. We will be in touch with those links.
Whether or not you were able to come, we wanted to recap the re:treat with some pictures below. Make sure you come back on Wednesday for part 2 of the re:treat recap.